These squirrel recipes are a great way to put the small game onto the dinner table.
Growing up in the backwoods of East Texas, I have tried just about every animal out there that is big enough to be either fried or put in a stew. My favorite, let’s call it exotic, game which my grandpa would cook is squirrel.
He cooked it just about any way possible, but these are a couple of my favorites.
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My grandpa used just about anything and everything, but it usually varied depending on what fresh vegetables we had from the garden and just how many squirrels we were able to shoot.
This is not the exact recipe because I promised him I would not give away all of his secrets, but it is close.
- 2-3 squirrels, cleaned
- 1 onion, chopped (sautéed)
- 2-3 whole carrots, cut and sliced
- 1-2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped (depending on how much you love garlic)
- 3 potatoes, cut into small chunks or cubes
- 1 can pinto beans
- 1 can corn
- 1 can tomato
- ¼ cup flour
- Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
Season your squirrel with Tony’s seasoning and/or any other seasoning you enjoy such as pepper, etc. and then rub your squirrel with flour.
Chop the onions and sauté them in a pan. Remove the onions and add your squirrel; brown on both sides. If you want added favor, leave the onions in until your squirrel is browned (make sure to not burn the onions).
Add tomatoes, garlic, onions, and water to a pot or slow cooker. Use your judgment on the water, depending on what consistency you want your stew and remember, your canned beans and corn contain some water. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the meat begins to fall off the bone.
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Remove squirrel and let the rest cool until you can remove the meat from the bones, and return the meat to the pot.
Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender. Serve with corn bread, hushpuppies or rolls.
My grandpa also makes a regular squirrel stew which is made with gravy instead of water. He would not divulge his secret on the gravy, but there are recipes out there that suggest using an onion or mushroom gravy. He uses basically the same ingredients as above, except no tomato or beans.
Grilled or Fried
This is by far my favorite, but it was rare because the squirrel has to be tender enough.
- 1 -2 squirrel, cleaned (however much one person wants to eat)
- 4 slices of bacon
- Onion, chopped
- Mixed peppers, chopped or cut
- Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning or desired seasoning
- Garlic powder or minced garlic
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper for taste
To be honest, my grandpa cooked it just like you would pork chops (with or without bones, depending on preference). A lot of his seasonings are a mystery so I have included some I like.
The most important part is making sure your squirrel is tender. If it is not tender, then it just does not taste as good. It seems like it is the luck of the draw when it comes to finding tender squirrel (my personal experience).
Occasionally I have tried to tenderize some squirrel, which was not quite as tender as I wanted, by soaking it overnight in apple vinegar and various seasonings. It is hit or miss.
The first step is seasoning your squirrel. In a bowl, I usually mix up Tony’s seasoning with an even amount of garlic powder/minced garlic, onion powder, etc. I apply the squirrel rub to both sides.
The next thing I do is fry up some bacon, leaving some of the bacon grease in the skillet. I use this to cook the squirrel in. Toss your squirrel in and cook it like you do a pork chop, turning it over so as you do not burn it or crisp it too much.
Then when I believe it to be almost cooked (times do vary so keep an eye on it), I toss in the onions and peppers and sauté them along with the squirrel.
Add a little olive oil into the skillet if the bacon grease is gone. Serve with green beans and mashed potatoes or whatever side dish you prefer.
Photo via Saving Room for Dessert